I live in the city and all around my home new buildings are being constructed. Walking one morning, I stopped to watch a crane in action. What I saw was elegance and purpose at work, and it was exquisite.
What does a building site crane have to do with elegance and purpose?
As I watched the crane, I got to feel how it works: slow, purposeful, unhurried, and focussed. It lifted large heavy items, gently and precisely placing them where they needed to go. This to me was beauty in motion.
It was very easy to feel how different this picture would be if the driver was in a hurry, distracted, rushing to get something done, tired, tense or even trying too hard… this would be seen, felt and magnified in every movement of the crane, immediately. Instead of seeing elegance and purpose at work, I would have been watching something rough and even dangerous.
Because of its sheer size, a crane cannot help but magnify the quality in which the driver operates it.
I found myself imagining how uncomfortable it would be to see something that large working in a zippy, rushing way, yet this is exactly how I can operate in my day to ‘get things done’. Standing there, I could feel how much havoc I can wreak on the worksite of my life and upon all those I share it with when I move and operate in a rush, and with nervous energy.
It is easy to see how bumping into things as a human being can leave me with a bruise, a scratch or a cut: on the level of a crane, these same bumps can be disastrous, costly and even deadly. The crane driver knows he is responsible not just for moving things from A to B, but for moving them safely, carefully and efficiently within a busy worksite, without bumping or damaging anything or any one of the many workers around the site.
On the human level, it is much easier to brush off the bumps, bruises or spilling consequences of rushing and just keep going; when on the crane level these consequences are followed with an immediate stop and investigation.
Living even just one day with this level of accountability for the way I move might just explain how I can reach the end of some days feeling battered and messy without really understanding why.
Rushing seems to get things done, but if the crane driver followed this theory, it would show that the opposite is true: rushing makes a mess, effectively slowing things down when the intention is to speed them up.
Elegance and purpose are a crane driver’s only way of operating. There is much beauty to feel and see in this level of commitment, awareness and care in action. It is an unexpected reminder of how I can move and conduct myself with this same elegance and purpose in my own body in the ‘work site’ of my daily life.
By Adrienne Hutchins, Funeral Director, Brisbane, Australia